Monday, December 31, 2007

With Intent

That is my new year's resolution/mantra for the coming year. Do live with intent. In my relationships. In my work. My home. And in my knitting and other crafting endeavors.
I responded to an email from my cousin last night. This dear soul has been faithfully sending me emails. The last time I had written to her was TWO years ago. We rather grew up together (close in age although not geography) and I cherish her dearly. I was appalled. I kept "meaning" to write back, but just "didn't have the time right now." No more.
I have been reading some interesting books lately. One got my attention in the bookstore, and one I picked up while purchasing a book for my sister. The first is The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. And if distilled to its purest, is about living with intent. Define what you want from/in/with your life. Rather in the "ask and you shall receive" voice. I was very skeptical, but found the bit I read at the store grabbed my attention and interest. So, one purchase later, the book is upon my nightstand. And I am making an effort in the direction I think.

Also along the same lines is the second book. While in CA for Christmas, my sister asked a lot of questions to help her with her current situation at work. Which led me to the work motivation - leadership section at the book store. And the book I purchased to bring home for myself is entitled Change the Way You See Everything - through asset-based thinking. I am truly a glass half full kind of person, so this book is right up my alley. While so far, I haven't read anything earth shaking, it is all affirming and positive reading. Remember, we are not faced with problems, but with opportunities.

Live each day with intent and my life will be richer for it.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas in California

Oh, the weather is truly delightful! Sure beats the weather in Pennsylvania, that's for sure. Unless you'd actually rather have snow, ice and cold. Which I don't. Prefer that is. I got awfully lucky on plane tickets. It was actually cheaper to fly into my small hometown airport (after changing planes in San Francisco), than to fly into San Francisco and get off the plane there. Unbelievable, but true. And while late leaving every airport, we still managed to catch an earlier flight into Modesto and arrived there several hours earlier than scheduled! While descending into SF, the flight attendant announced the gates for those trying to catch a connecting flight. And mentioned a flight into Modesto. We found the gate and asked if we could go stand by on this flight instead of catching the flight in three hours. They had just finished boarding and had several empty seats, so we were able to hop right on.

I think we've had Mexican food almost daily. There is not any decent Mexican food that I have found in PA, so we're tried to get ou fill while we could.

After arriving on Thursday, my son Pete let me know that he didn't have to work Friday if we wanted to come to SF for the day. So off we went again. Caught BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) from the Dublin/Pleasanton station. BART sure makes to drive into the bay area nice. Bob hadn't ever been to SF. So we rode the cable cars down to the wharf and strolled along there. Went to Pier 39 and watched the sea lions. Gazed upon the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. Walked through Ghiradelli square, took in an art gallery and tried going to MOMA. But since we got there 45 minutes before they close, we chose not to go. And then at sandwiches on fantastic sour dough bread.

Now, all this time, Bob has seen me try sour dough bread. Take a bite, and then throw it down in disgust saying that it's just not any good. After eating SF sour dough bread, he now has to agree with me. Just nothing compares, that's for sure.

Christmas was quiet and filled with family. The perfect day for a holiday that can be filled with such stress and tension. Because that was at someone else's house, not ours.

Oh! And I got to see my two best friends from when we were growing up. The three of us lived within 5 houses along our street. So I popped into one of the mom's houses on Christmas eve. She said she'd try not to tell them I was in town and to come over Christmas morning once I saw all the cars. What fun! We cried and hugged and chattered away like it had been yesterday since we were last together. One of them has a picture, so I can't wait to get a copy.

In fact, I think I'll be sure to drop off my phone number and email just in case. It would be good for someone else to have that info in case it gets lost.

Christmas with family and best friends from childhood. Truly doesn't get any better.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

My ISE5 Package Came!

I went out to chip away at more of the ice the snowplow driver kindly left at the end of my driveway. And found a package from Royal Mail! I knew this had to be my ISE package and saved it for a treat when I was done.
And what a treasure trove! I'm not absolutely positive on the spelling, but Trieia was my secret pal! And what a fun box of goodies she sent me.Notice the post card right there on top? This is a picture taken in the town she lives in - and used to live around the corner from in the picture. Too neat. And look at all the little packages!

I'm absolutely horrid about getting things wrapped up, but she did a bang up job of it. And she's pretty sneaky too. See the package in front - the one with the yarn label that says 100% alpaca? Well, I saved that for last expecting that would be the scarf. I got a little suspicious when the back package was so squishy. Yep, the back package was the scarf and the one with the yarn label was this darling angel ornament. The teeny package on top of the Christmas pudding is a small little "hanger" that says "Joy."

I think the Lindt chocolates are great. Chocolate Santa urging on his chocolate reindeer. And the scarf is wonderful! I think I asked for something "fun," and this sure fills the bill. The scarf is just made with knit and purl stitches. But the stitches shift to the right for a bit, then back to the left for a bit. Which is what gives it the waves. Thank you very much for such a thoughtful gift. I wore the scarf last night and it is very soft and warm.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Cutest Booties EVER

On Sunday I knit three booties during our winter storm. Notice I knit three and a pair is just that - two. Well, I'm not sure if it was the first or second bootie that I knit, but I think I knit an extra garter ridge in the foot portion. And in something this small, two extra rows makes a difference. I think I'll knit another bootie with extra rows so that I'll have another pair. These were made from a strand of mystery DK wool and a strand of fingering weight held together. I know the mystery wool is washable. I knit some mittens for a friend with this yarn, and washability is a must for her.

I used Saartje's bootie pattern found here. I thought the pattern was very well written and easy to understand. And just about the most adorable bootie pattern ever!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Listen to the little voice

We have some dear friends that we haven't seen in quite awhile. I'd get fleeting thoughts that I really should give them a call or stop by to visit, but never did. All day long yesterday, I had this insistent little voice telling me to go visit them TODAY. So I decided that after this next batch of cookies (that I had just gotten the butter out of the fridge for) was done, I'd go visit.

The cookies got made, the day passed. And that little thought jumped right back into my head. But it was dinner time. I didn't want to stop in at dinner time. But a snow/sleet/ice storm was coming through later, and no one would mind if I did stop at dinner time. So I waited a little bit, but then off I went.

What a joy. I walked into the house, and Bob was sitting in his chair holding a brand new granddaughter! Marissa Katherine was born on Nov 2, and I hadn't even known she was expected. Bob has some very serious health problems and then earlier this year he was involved in a horrid car accident. I asked him if earlier in the year if he thought he would ever be here for this day, and he replied no. That every day is such a gift. Several years ago on Nov 2, Bob's heart stopped and he died. He was obviously resusitated and has a pace maker. He is firmly convinced that his love for his grandchildren (and their love for him) is what is keeping him alive. They need him and he needs them.

This was little Marissa's first outing. Her pediatrician told the parents not to take her out for six weeks. There were just too many bugs and virus going around. Last night's visit was just meant to be on so many different levels. Marissa Katherine's name is also keeping the family circle going. Her grandmother's name is Catherine and her mother's name is Mary Catherine. Each woman's name is different from each other, but uniquely linked. How very wonderful.

We need to each remember how wonderful each day truly is. That each day is a gift.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Is there Spinning in My Future?

While talking home remodeling a few days ago, I said that I have a clear mental picture of what I want my studio to look like. This "studio" in its previous incarnation, was the bathroom. That has been gutted (several years ago actually) and is currently nothing but bare studs and boxes. And in most other homes, this room would be a bedroom. So we are a bit away from what it looks like today and the mental image I have.

In the part that pertains to today's post, I want hardwood floors and a few area rugs. And while I have never spun, I see a spinning wheel in one corner of this room. I do know of a local person who would give me basic spinning lessons. While not even blinking, Bob's response was "we're not getting sheep." Which does leave the door wide open for a wheel.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Trying to get Home Again

We got a phone call from a quilt shop yesterday that wanted to reorder. Which is a Very Good Thing. And since I would be going through CT to get home, could I drop off the product. No problem, says I. Well.....traffic became the problem. The only frustrating part (for me) is that if not for agreeing to drop off product, I would be home now instead of in a hotel for another night. Traffic around Hartford, CT (and whatever is the last city on the MA side) was at a crawl for hours. Literally. So instead of taking the 45-60 minutes she was expecting, it took me an extra hour. But I wasn't sure how long she would wait, so I continued on to our meeting place. Nope, considering how late I was, I'm not sure how long I would have waiting either. In trying to get to the meeting place at a decent time, I didn't stop for lunch. So I'm paying that price tonight. I waited 30 minutes to see if she would drive back by, but I don't know how close that spot was to where she lives. Chalk that up into the Oh Well! category.

I went today through part of New Hampshire. Cut short trying to get to CT on time. And this will probably sound a bit silly. Considering that Vermont and New Hampshire are next door neighbors, I'm not sure what the difference was. But I liked Vermont better. Of course, individual areas/towns make a difference in impressions. But Vermont still comes out on top between the two. No, it wasn't just scenery, although that played a part. But the people seemed friendlier in Vermont. Walking down the sidewalk, people would greet you. People in stores or restaurants would talk to you. Not in the annoying, go away, conversation. Just the friendly short chatter kind of way. If you like winter sports such as snowboarding, skiing, or snowshoeing, plus biking, fishing (and I'm not sure whatelse) in the summer, Vermont seems the place to go.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Vermont is BEAUTIFUL!

Now, those of you that live or vacation in Vermont already know what a beautiful state this is. This is my first trip into Vermont. And I am gobsmacked. Stunning beauty around every corner. And not a camera in sight, much to my dismay.

I left home not quite as early Tuesday morning as I had wished, and headed into VT. And while this is a beautiful state, it is not one that is interested in a wealth of hotels. I wasn't quite frantic Tuesday night, but was getting close. It is winter after all. And while on business, my hotel priorities are basic - relatively cheap and clean. I caved about 9 pm and stopped at one of the absolutely dozens of B&B's in the area.

The B&B was more than I usually spend on a hotel room. But it was charming. And clean, and breakfast was fantastic. I'll add in info later (I don't have info with me right now). But the owners were an absolutely charming couple. Moved from New Jersey when the found the B&B that was ideal for them.

Anyway.....problem with the website. We lost our tech support team last week. I did update the billing information, but that apparently didn't get paid. So our website is not up right now. I'm waiting for a response from the billing department. Which can only be reached by email apparently. Just checked, no response quite yet.

I am currently in Newport, VT. Like the rest of Vermont, it is an adorable town. Has quilt and yarn shops here, not much more to ask for! Except for the whole snow thing, it's a pretty neat place. I am hogging the free internet access in a small friendly diner called Roasters. Only open for breakfast and lunch. And it does seem that I'll be eating both of those meals here today.

I finally took the laptop out of the box night before last. And this is my first wireless experience. Thankfully everyone here is nice and doesn't mind me sitting here typing away while waiting for an answer.

I hope to be home sometime late Friday. So maybe I'll be able to post again if tonight's hotel has free access. Totally cool you know - this free internet access stuff.